How to launch a 22-year-old.

Our son chose not to go to college and has been working successfully at a large retailer since high school.  He loves his job, has never been late or taken a sick day and has exhibited very adult, responsible behavior.  The problem?  He won't leave the nest.  We gave him a deadline about a year ago, helped him search for apartments, made sure he had enough money for security deposit, etc. He made the motions of looking on Craigslist for roommates but the deadline came and went. He just seems incapable of pulling the trigger and we learned we weren't the type of parents who could kick him out.  He has friends but is very isolated and spends all of his free time in his room in front of his computer.  

I'd appreciate hearing from parents who've encountered this challenge and succeeded in creating an independent adult.  Any information would be helpful.  On his salary he will need roommates, so renting a place on his own is not an option.  Any actions, websites,  or simple tips would be greatly appreciated.

Out of the nest

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RE: How to launch a 22-year-old. ()
RE: How to launch a 22-year-old. ()

What can i say? I can understand wanting your kid to "mature" and be independent.  Mine went to only 1 semester of jr. college, then back to sleeping all day and up on computer all night.  He ditched the friends he had so they went on and forgot him.  I don't know what to do myself, though fortunately mine just got PT job and 2 classes at BCC so h'e coming around.

Definitely don't kick him out. Out where? E.14th St.? Telegraph Ave? Under the freeway?  And how long will he last out there? Homeless people are found dead frequently, but does it ever make the news?  Hardly--it's not "newsworthy". Or they die in emergency room or jail.  They usually get into drug use cuz life is too miserable to bear.  At minimum wage you can't even get a room around here unless you're really really lucky. And in most retail jobs, you don't have a "salary", you have minimum wage or a few bucks above it (commission may put you at 5 or 6 bucks above it depending, and varying daily--still not enough for a decent place).

Interesting that u say "pulling the trigger".  You indicate that he's not capable of killing himself (!?!).  Who is capable of "pulling the trigger" and shooting himself? Sounds like you yourself are pretty fearful of what will happen when he leaves.  

In many (if not most) countries it's normal for young people to stay with parents until they marry, and some stay on even after that.  They have big happy families (or problematic, sometimes dysfunctional) but at least there is togetherness) with fun, noisy, frequent get-togethers of extended family. We here have this weird notion that youth have to leave the nest and "strike out on their own" even if they're not ready emotionally or financially, then each individual lives in his own solitary little unit. WHY?  Is that happiness?

If he's not destroying your home, stealing from you, committing crimes there, etc. then what's the problem with him staying? I think family togetherness & love is a great thing. Paying bay area rents on retail wages he'll never save enough to buy a place. I don't see any problem at all here, except trying to live up to someone else's standard of "normal".  If he's happy, why not let him be? If it ain't broken, don't fix it.

RE: How to launch a 22-year-old. ()

Welcome to the world of young adult parenting!  My two oldest are in their early 30's. Currently they both live with roommates, one in a subsidized apartment that he heard about from a friend, and the other in a rough part of Oakland that is still affordable for two guys making hardly any money. But they have both lived at home for stretches of a few months to a few years since graduating high school.  It really bothered me at first. I felt like I had failed as a parent.  I had expected they would take flight and leave the nest at 21 and not come back unless there was some terrible calamity. At least that's how it was with me and all my friends back in the day.

But it's different now. It is soooo expensive here even for young people with well-paid jobs. My kids both (eventually) graduated college but they are not in tech, law, or medicine. They can't afford an apartment in the East Bay, and I don't see a time when they will ever be able to. Many of their friends have moved back home, or their parents are subsidizing their rent, or "helping" them buy a condo or house.  Or they are living with a bunch of other 20 and 30 somethings in scary rundown warehouses in Oakland and Emeryville. The friends who have coupled up mostly are spending their entire paychecks on rent, or else trying to figure out how to move to Oregon! 

I realized after my kids hit 25 or so, when their brains finally matured, that I like having them around! I didn't mind as much when they'd move back in for a time. I admit I like it better when they have their own place (and so do they) but it isn't the shameful thing I experienced when they were younger. However I worry every day about how they can ever afford to stay in the Bay Area long term, in the place where they grew up.  I don't see how it is possible unless they move back in with us.  So we are seriously considering remodeling our house so it can accommodate them and their families in future years.  

This is all to say that maybe you could accept for now that your son is living with you because of all the economic forces we have here in the Bay Area. Lots of other parents are doing the same. Your son might rather have his own place, but the only option he can realistically afford right now is to live with a bunch of strangers in a low-rent area or ramshackle apartment. Or move out of town.  So living at home might be the best option for him right now. Connections with friends is how my kids have found their living situations, and your son is keeping up his friendships, and making new ones too hopefully, so things can change. In the meantime maybe think about ways to make him feel like more of a roommate and less of a son, so he can feel a bit more independent. I never charged my kids rent when they moved back in - a lot of parents do that - but I did expect them to help out with their younger sibling (homework, piano practice), prepare dinner, stuff like that.

Good luck and hang in there!!